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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Neo-Confucianism in Xenocide: a question for OSC

   
Author Topic: Neo-Confucianism in Xenocide: a question for OSC
Pelegius
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Actually, questions.

Am I correct in assuming that the religion of Path in Xenocide is a development of Neo-Confucianism?

If so, were any of your readers offended by your suggestion that Neo-Confucianism could develop into a celebration of mental illness?

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trpollen
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Ooh, nice questions! Come on Orson, we want an answer. :-)
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Orincoro
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Your kinda putting words in his mouth though, doesn't the mental ilness result from government manipulation?
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Kasberg
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It's not like believing in something results in a genetic defect if you practice it.

Unless there's some -strange- rituals in the mix, then things would get ugly.

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tmservo
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Kasberg - I think those people are called Raelian?
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Gosu
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It would only be a celebration of mental illness if they knew it was a mental illness.
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Occasional
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I actually saw it as a discussion about how humans can form meaning for everything. She used neo-Confusianism to make a useless and destructive activity into something useful and creative. I personally never saw the illness as actually related to the person's beliefs, but the beliefs structuring the illness.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

I personally never saw the illness as actually related to the person's beliefs, but the beliefs structuring the illness.

The beliefs also prevented her from seeking a cure for that illness, FWIW.
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Orson Scott Card
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The goals of the founders - to recreate their particular version of Chinese beliefs (which includes a heavy dose of Taoism, too) - had nothing to do with the genetic manipulation which was done to enhance their intellects. They worked the god-centered explanations of OCD into their Taoist belief system partly to keep the victim-geniuses under control; it worked at least in part because the victims were so obviously smarter than others that the idea they were "god-favored" seemed to prove the altered religion to be true. There are all kinds of circular thought-systems that humans adopt in large numbers. You devise a story to explain a phenomenon, then invoke the phenomenon to prove the explanation.

It's like Darwinism. Scientists all believed in evolution before Darwin - it was obvious from the fossil record. What Darwin contributed was not the idea of evolution, but random variation plus natural selection as a sufficient explanation of it. But now, whenever anybody questions the explanation, the original phenomenon Darwinism was invented to explain (evolution) is invoked to "prove" the explanation. This cicularity doesn't DISprove the Darwinian model, it merely makes it impossible to have an intelligent discussion with a committed Darwinist, because they are unable to separate the explanation from the phenomenon.

So what was happening on Path was part of standard human behavior.... it was never set up as some sort of "look at all the silly Chinese" or "look at all the foolish Taoists" attack; rather, it was, "Look at how humans, through their commitment and sacrifice, can make even a cruel thing that was done to them into something rather beautiful and fine and tragic."

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Pelegius
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Thank you.
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pooka
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They have symptoms, but they are smarter. Is it really an illness? Remember that there were people who tried to get their kids to fake the godspoken attributes. It is not dissimilar from people who are very charismatic, but bound up with that is the constitutional inability for honesty.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

Is it really an illness?

Yes.
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Rakeesh
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It was definitely an illness, because it was manufactured into their genetics to inhibit them.

If someone makes war on us with, say, smallpox, we're sick with smallpox, even though we didn't catch it naturally.

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Reshpeckobiggle
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Another thing with Darwinism. As OSC said, the explanation proves the phenomenon, and vice-versa, but that doesn't disprove the theory. What DOES disprove the theory, however, are the facts. But with Darwinistic evolution being the established tautology that it is, facts don't really matter anymore. I'll elaborate if anyone expresses an interest.
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TomDavidson
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Try posting your challenge to evolution on the other side of the forum, where you'll be ripped to shreds by people who know more about biology than you do. On this side, it's more likely to be ignored.
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WntrMute
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Jeez, Tom, spoil my fun.
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pooka
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Tom, you're such a bigot against people with any mental diversity.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
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Or maybe he has OCD. If you know anyone with the disorder... Read "The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing," before saying that it's not an illness.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

Tom, you're such a bigot against people with any mental diversity.

I suppose you'd consider cutting off one's leg to be a form of "diversity" as well?
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